Relays: TAAC defend title in grand season finale
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Torrington AAC won the Vet Ladies >50 trophy for at least the fifth year in a row, as proven by this close up of the said trophy:
Well, actually, this year we tied with Bideford on 64pts. Doesn't matter. There was only one person collecting the trophy, and rightly so given our prestigious history in this event. Not to mention the prospect of a very empty looking trophy cabinet and possibly some sympathy from the hosts. Well done to the ladies; Marilyn, Ann, Steph, Mary and Michaela who made this happen..
As for the night itself. TAAC wanted to capitalise on a rich vein of form which has seen us not finish 6th in any category since round 3. Rounds 4 and 5 were particularly strong, as was the rise of the Vet Any >55; an inexorable ascent which left other clubs looking over their shoulders (particularly the Trailblazers):
On turning up to the venue, any positive vibes were quickly dampened by overcast skies, availability issues (holidays, Covid), and this:
Never judge a book by its cover! Runners were about to be treated to a wonderful, undulating course through Bideford's leafiest suburbs - with the trees, the river, the plots, we could have been running with Robert Pattinson & the Twilight cast in the Pacific Northwest. Just instead of werewolves, it was a Bideford Blue chasing you down.
It's impossible to cover everyone's experiences in this format. For most, the run was just horrible.
However, we've some observations:
In the men's senior race, green and white hoop, Nick Taylor, was astounded to not see team captain Wayne Stapleton awaiting him at the handover. Nick sprinted his finish but ran into a vacuum, where due to lack of matter relay time seemed to stop and left him perpetually hanging. Turns out Wayne had been accosted by Keith Hoadley on plans for a new water butt and guttering system on the TAAC shed. It'd be unforgivable if both runners hadn't run blinders on the night, Keith helping secure 10pts and Wayne competing superbly 2nd time round in his 3rd age category of the series - a true Swiss Army Knife in any Relay squad.
Creative thinker Peter Coates who with cones and beanbags brings a smile to any green and white hoop, ran a solid time as ever. Pete put in an epic warm up once again by running the full course with Marathon des Sables-bound Colin Wynne and vacuum-bound Nick Taylor, setting off at 7:20pm. By 7:40pm they were overtaken by leg 1's fastest runners, confusing those runners a lot. Moreover, Pete, Nick and Colin became mentally tired after exchanging the same joke with every marshal: "yes, we're in the 'lead' of the relays at this [pedestrian] pace".
New club chair Meghan Lomax, unwinding between her Pedalo Cymru and forthcoming Trek des Alpes Suisses tours, dug out a top 5 senior ladies time for TAAC. Meg, a self-professed gradient lover, was likely the only runner in her category who looked back fondly on the massive SURPRISE of the massive hill up to the Durrant Hotel. This is the heart of North Devon flat PB land, don't forget. Nevertheless, this helped the senior ladies team to a top 5 finish, alongside the senior men, vet men, vet men>50, the vet ladies, the vet ladies>50 and vet any >55.
Top 5 finishes all round!
See you next year.